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Sun backs development of crash-proof databases

Clustra Systems gets $22m

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Sun Microsystems has invested $22 million in a firm that is trying to develop crash-free databases.

Clustra Systems intends to use Sun's investment, part of its second round of funding, which has raised $32 million, to expand its product development and marketing activities of relational databases that provide continuous uptime.

The firm's Clustra Database is designed to stay up "through planned maintenance, hardware and software failures, database upgrades, natural disasters, and human mistakes".

This covers a lot of potential cock-ups (especially the human error aspect of disaster) and we reckon Clustra's statements thus far only go part way towards explaining how this might be achieved.

Clustra chief executive Gary Ebersole told Reuters: "If there is a failure in one part of the system, the system keeps running because we replicate the database so that it can run without interruption of service."

He added that because Clustra's technology is self-repairing, it could recover from failure automatically.

The funding agreement with Sun makes no mention of whether Clustra will get access to Sun's channel or whether the hardware giant will resell Clustra's software, a move unlikely to be welcomed by Oracle. These will be interesting points to look out for in the future alongside whether Clustra's technology lives up to its promise.

Clustra was founded in 1997 and expects to move into the black next year, possibly after another funding round.

Its technology was first deployed by telecoms carriers, and Clustra is now developing a platform for application delivery that will also be targeted at financial services companies. ®

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